Archive for March, 2012

After Bankruptcy Filing, Beware of Phony Debt Collectors Who Threaten Arrest!

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

by Karen Oakes, Southern Oregon Bankruptcy Attorney

Folks frequently come in to talk about bankruptcy and are very concerned that an arrest warrant may be issued as they haven’t paid their debts — either before filing bankruptcy or even after filing for bankruptcy. They have heard about phone calls or emails from debt collectors (or have even gotten those kind of threats) where the debt collector, usually one with a heavy accent, threatens immediate arrest for non-payment of a debt. This debt is usually an old payday loan or small debt that the debtor may have long forgotten. These phone calls are intimidating and threatening. However, arrest is unlikely in most circumstances says Jonathan Ginsberg, Atlanta bankruptcy attorney.

Most of these debt collectors are located outside the United States, frequently in India, and can be difficult to locate. Recently, the Federal Trade Commission announced successful shutdown of one set of phony debt collectors as reported by Claudia Buck in a March 5, 2012 article in the Sacramento Bee. The FTC announced the shut down of American Credit Crunchers and Ebeeze after filing a complaint against the companies in federal court and the assets of those companies frozen. A settlement with the companies was reached, but in the last four months of 2010, the debt collectors received more than $5 million from folks who probably didn’t owe any of the debt or the debt was not collectible by those debt collectors as it belonged to another company. The tactics were so horrific that folks paid just to make the calls stop. The FTC reports that over the last two years, consumers have filed more than 4,000 complaints with the FTC and state attorneys general about fraudulent debt collection calls.

The FTC recommends doing research before paying any debt collector.

The Bankruptcy Code provides for an automatic stay under 11 USC 362 which forbids the collection or the attempt to collect a debt. There are very few exceptions to this automatic stay (priority debt such family support or recent taxes are usually excepted as explained by Cathy Moran, California bankruptcy attorney). Most debts are covered by the stay and the debtor is protected from such collection attempts. However, these debt collectors don’t care about the automatic stay–they just want their money and will use any tactic that may possibly work. And fear usually works.

Because these debt collectors violate federal laws, the bankruptcy law doesn’t scare them. Each week, I get reports from my bankruptcy clients of heavily accented debt collectors threatening them for non-payment of debts. If you get one of these calls or emails, report it to your bankruptcy attorney so that the attorney can attempt to locate the company in order to either file a lawsuit or threaten a lawsuit if the behavior doesn’t stop. One of my colleagues offered an additional creative solution which I provide to my clients. He tells his clients to say the following when the call is coming from India:

“ I am prepared to have you criminally charged in India for violating the National Security Act and the Gangster Act. My attorney is prepared to speak with Inspector General Singh and urge him to start a prosecution against you”.

The National Security Act and the Gangster Act are India’s version of anti-racketeering statutes. The above statements should make the phony debt collector stop calling.

Carolyn Secor is a Clearwater bankruptcy attorney and Clearwater foreclosure attorney serving Palm Harbor, New Port Richey, Oldsmar, Tarpon Springs, Seminole, St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay area.

If you would like more information on our practice, please consult our website at:

www.bankruptcyfortampa.com
or call (727) 254-1704.

Bankruptcy Modifies The Collection Of All Kinds Of Debt.

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Bankruptcy Law Network

Article by Andy Miofsky

Do you receive late notices and collection letters in the mail? You probably opened them at first, but now do you just throw them in an unopened pile, hoping to deal with them later – and later never comes?

Are you tired of explaining why you have not paid a bill, embarrassed telling complete strangers your personal tragedies? Millions of people behind in their bills do not look forward to opening the mail, answering a phone or speaking to bill collectors.

Did you know you could modify the way all your debt is collected? Yes, all your debt. 11 U.S.C. 362.

Did you know Congress passed a law that lets you eliminate entire categories of debt? 11 U.S.C.727, 1141, 1328.

Isn’t it time you started getting some Happy Mail?

At the first moment you file bankruptcy you automatically obtain relief that modifies the way your creditors treat you. With few exceptions, all collection activity must stop, all mail and phone calls must stop and creditors must change the way they try to get money from you.

Debt collectors are no longer permitted to contact you by telephone while you are represented in a bankruptcy case. Peace of mind and calm are restored to your life.

Student loans, mortgage companies, car title lenders, medical bills, taxes, and credit cards debts are all included and are all covered by the automatic stay when you file bankruptcy. Bankruptcy requires creditors present their debt to the court for payment and only debt you can afford to pay gets paid during your case. Many other debts are discharged.

Some exceptional debt survives bankruptcy and may be collected from you in the future. Hopefully after the bankruptcy case has shed you from having to pay other debt you can be in a happier place!

Carolyn Secor is a Clearwater bankruptcy attorney and Clearwater foreclosure attorney serving Palm Harbor, New Port Richey, Oldsmar, Tarpon Springs, Seminole, St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay area.

If you would like more information on our practice, please consult our website at:

www.bankruptcyfortampa.com
or call (727) 254-1704.